OnPoint by Keith Ng


P is for Potential

Much of the hysterical noise around my modest proposals to licence P labs in residential areas is ignoring the facts about P’s role in the economy.

Responsible P manufacturing is not an oxymoron, and I've made it clear that should P labs be permitted in residential areas, and should those areas show viable demands for P and low enough overhead costs, only modest and socially responsible P manufacturing would ever take place.

As for suggestions that modest and socially responsible P manufacturing on a small portion of the New Zealand's residential area would be ruinous to New Zealand’s international reputation, the facts to date suggest nothing could be further from the truth.

Fact: There is already P manufacturing in residential areas

As at September 2009 there were 482 P labs already operating in residential areas. Many P labs were set up by the last Labour-led government.

Between 2000 and 2008 international tourist numbers to the country increased 37 per cent from 1,789,078 in 2000 to 2,447,208 in 2008.

You see? You see the non-linear correlation? If we had 20,000 P labs in New Zealand, we would get 100 million international tourists each year. With 500,000 P labs, every single person in the world would come to New Zealand.

Fact: P manufacturing in New Zealand is a $12 billion industry

2008 was a record year for P production in New Zealand. The industry has been growing strongly in recent years, driven by demand by that guy you went to school with who is now a giant P-head.

Fact: P is an important export industry for New Zealand

Well, okay, it's not. But that's only because of the RMA.

Fact: P manufacturing employs thousands of New Zealanders in high-paying, highly productive jobs

The P sector, including oil and crystals, directly employs about 2,000 people in New Zealand and thousands more indirectly.

Jobs in the P sector are highly productive. In the 2000-2005 period the P sector (including oil and crystals) returned an average $360,000 of GDP per full time employee, nearly six times the national average.

Workers in the P sector average an income of $60,000 per employee – over double the national average. This figure excludes contract and casual workers.

Fact: P manufacturing is far more productive than most other land applications

P manufacturing in New Zealand use an extremely small amount of land (around 100 hectares), less than 0.0015 per cent of our total residential area.

The productive value of that land is $9,623,281 per hectare. Dairy farming by comparison uses 2 million hectares of land with an export value of only $3,500 per hectare. If we converted all our dairy farms into P labs, we could buy China and pay America to deliver it while wearing a tutu.

Fact: P labs in New Zealand are New Zealand-owned as well as foreign owned

The largest P lab in New Zealand is owned by this guy on the dole, which practically makes him a state-owned enterprise.

Between 2000 and 2009 he made profits of $4.6 million and returned $510,000 to the Crown through GST on what he spent on prostitutes.

In fact NZ P rings have on average 57% local ownership compared to 43% overseas ownership.


As I said at the release of my discussion paper on what we're doing in the weekend, New Zealand totally wants to get high and P has an important role to play in getting high.

Whether P plays any part delivering greater prosperity, security and opportunity for all New Zealanders by way of manufacturing it is up for discussion over the next six weeks. But don't call me this week or next week, cos I'm going to be, um, real busy and shit.

(Inspired by: Gerry Brownlee and Breaking Bad.)

(Also, these numbers are completely made up. Though I reckon if you took the street value of P manufactured in a small house, the production per hectare would be pretty spectacular. Just sayin'.)

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